Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
Chapter 23, Paragraph 5.
Money. Something whose influence grips us tightly. Something of which the Bible warns us not to get attached:
You cannot serve God and wealth. -Matthew 6:24
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. -1 Timothy 6:10
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have;… -Hebrews 13:5
Affected as we are by material goods, when we see someone who has eschewed all that on purpose, we automatically think he or she has attained a state of holiness that we have not. After all, they don’t have to struggle with the desire for money when they don’t have it, right? They’ve even vowed never to accumulate stuff! It is the ultimate in minimalism, and for those who feel that tug-of-war within them concerning material gain, it is appealing.
But where in Scripture does it say that living in poverty is next to godliness? It does not. Interestingly, often the vow of poverty is taken by those who also vow a life of perpetual singleness. It is easy to say that you will cast off the cares of this world by not marrying, and awfully convenient to live as a pauper when you have no one dependent upon you. As is the case in vows of chastity, the family is left behind in the quest for holiness.
Yet there is no shame in providing for those in your household. God providentially supplies material goods to those who labor so that they may have extra to share with those in need (Ephesians 4:28). If a vow of poverty is to be desired above wealth, then there is no opportunity to give to those who have a need, as you do not have the resources to do so.
The desire for money is strong, and often competes with our affections for Christ. Yet it is not evil, and is a means to much good. To swear it off completely is neither right, nor warranted in Scripture.
Questions to Consider
- What is your attitude towards money and material goods?